Dec 14

Space Rocket History #189 – John Glenn Remembered

With the passing of John Glenn last week, I thought it would be appropriate to pause my coverage of Apollo 10 for a week and create an episode that celebrates the life of the American Icon, John Glenn.  I covered John Glenn’s Mercury flight in episodes 30-31.  I am going to re-release those episodes over the next 2 days.  So I won’t spend a lot of time on his Mercury flight in this episode, that will be covered tomorrow.

John Glenn - Mercury-Atlas 6

John Glenn – Mercury-Atlas 6

Senator John Glenn

Senator John Glenn

John Glenn - STS-95

John Glenn – STS-95

Sep 10

Space Rocket History #129 – Apollo Mission Control: An Introduction to Eugene Frances Kranz

As Procedures Officer, Kranz was put in charge of integrating Mercury Control with the Launch Control Team at Cape Canaveral, Florida, writing the “Go/NoGo” procedures that allowed missions to continue as planned or be aborted, along with serving as a sort of switchboard operator using teletype between the control center at Cape Canaveral and the agency’s fourteen tracking stations and two tracking ships located across the globe.

Kranz & his F86 Saber Cat

Kranz & his F86 Saber Cat

Kranz at his console in 1965

Kranz at his console in 1965

Kranz and his teacher Chris Kraft

Kranz and his teacher Chris Kraft

Sep 03

Space Rocket History #128 – Apollo Mission Control: Christopher Columbus Kraft – Part 2

At the beginning of the Apollo program, Kraft retired as a flight director to concentrate on management and mission planning. In 1972, he became director of the Manned Spacecraft Center, following the path of his mentor Robert Gilruth.

Kraft in Mission Control for Gemini 5

Kraft in Mission Control for Gemini 5

Ad. Abhau, Robert Thompson, and Kraft

Ad. Abhau, Robert Thompson, and Kraft

Kraft with his new flight Directors

Kraft with his new flight Directors

Aug 13

Space Rocket History #125 – Apollo: Astronaut Selection and Training – Part 3

“Some of those guys came in figuring, “I’ll write my textbooks and my thesis and teach [university courses] and I’ll come by twice a week and be an astronaut.” Well, that didn’t work …. We were devoting our lives to this whole thing, and you couldn’t devote anything less, I don’t care what your discipline was.”

Back, Swigert, Pogue, Evans, Weitz, Irwin, Carr, Roosa, Worden, Mattingly, Lousma. Front, Givens, Mitchell, Duke, Lind, Haise, Engle, Brand, Bull, McCandless

Back, Swigert, Pogue, Evans, Weitz, Irwin, Carr, Roosa, Worden, Mattingly, Lousma. Front, Givens, Mitchell, Duke, Lind, Haise, Engle, Brand, Bull, McCandless

Aug 05

Space Rocket History #124 – Apollo: Astronaut Selection and Training – Part 2

With Group 4, for the first time, the selection criteria did not include a requirement for test pilot proficiency. Selectees who were not qualified pilots would be assigned to the Air Force for a year of flight training. The primary scientific requirement was a doctorate in medicine, engineering, or one of the natural sciences.

Astronaut Group 3

Astronaut Group 3

Astronaut Group 4

Astronaut Group 4

Scientist-Astronaut Harrison Schmitt

Scientist-Astronaut Harrison Schmitt

Jul 30

Space Rocket History #123 – Apollo: Astronaut Selection and Training – Part 1

Selection of Group Two virtually depleted the pool of qualified candidates from the small corps of test pilots in the country, and it was the last group for which test-pilot certification would be a requirement. The new trainees reported to Houston in October 1962 to begin a two-year training course. A four-day work week was normally scheduled, the fifth day being reserved for public relations duties or for travel.

Group 1, The Mercury 7

Group 1, The Mercury 7

Back - See, McDivitt, Lovell, White, Stafford. Front - Conrad, Borman, Armstrong, Young

Back – See, McDivitt, Lovell, White, Stafford. Front – Conrad, Borman, Armstrong, Young

Astronaut Groups 1 and 2

Astronaut Groups 1 and 2

Jun 11

Space Rocket History #117 – Apollo: Lunar Module Design

Since the lunar module would fly only in space (earth orbit and lunar vicinity), the designers could ignore the aerodynamic streamlining demanded by earth’s atmosphere and build the first true manned spacecraft, designed solely for operating in the spatial vacuum.

Lunar module generations from 1962 to 1969

Lunar module generations from 1962 to 1969

James Webb examines models of the LEM and CM

James Webb examines models of the LEM and CM

Underside of LEM descent stage shows fuel tank installation

Underside of LEM descent stage shows fuel tank installation

LEM Descent Stage

LEM Descent Stage

Mockup of LEM cabin with seats

Mockup of LEM cabin with seats

1964 Version of LEM, No Seats and Triangular windows

1964 Version of LEM, No Seats and Triangular windows

LEM Sleep Stations

LEM Sleep Stations

Jun 04

Space Rocket History #116 – Apollo: Little Joe II

A few seconds after liftoff, a fin-vane at the base of the booster stuck and started the 13-meter-tall spacecraft-booster combination spinning like a bullet. Twenty-six seconds into the flight the vehicle started coming apart. The abort-sensing system signaled the launch escape tower rocket to fire and pull the spacecraft away…

White Sands New Mexico

White Sands New Mexico

Launch Pad Abort Test

Launch Pad Abort Test

Little Joe II, A-001 with BP-12

Little Joe II, A-001 with BP-12

Little Joe II Flight Profile

Little Joe II Flight Profile

Little Joe II Real Emergency.

Little Joe II Real Emergency.

Little Joe II On the Pad

Little Joe II On the Pad

Little Joe Pad Abort Test

Little Joe Pad Abort Test

A-001 Launch

A-001 Launch

Little Joe II A-002

Little Joe II A-002